$7 for a flat white? Why it could be time to pay more for our coffee as Australia prepares for price surge

A $7 coffee might sound ridiculous - but that's what a cup could cost in Australia by the end of the year.

And after a decade of stable prices here, the New Zealand coffee industry says they might have to follow suit.

"We've been absorbing the price of coffee for many years, many years," says Roz Cattell, president of the NZ Specialty Coffee Association.

"And we're like 'OK, let's just absorb that increase and the next one' - and suddenly the gap is really big."

It's so big that industry insiders in Australia say a cup there could cost as much as $7 by the end of the year.

One major factor is a recent frost in Brazil, the largest coffee-producing country in the world, that wiped out green beans. Then add to that shipping struggles, speciality milk costs and the COVID-19 hit to the hospitality industry.

But are coffee drinkers here noticing any price changes yet? 

"$5.30 this morning - absolutely disgraceful," one person said.

"About $5.50 or $6 because I have oat milk and decaf," said another.

In the central Auckland suburb of Mt Eden, a regular flat white was $5 - but the question is, will that change?

Roma Coffee Roasters says it's up to each individual cafe to name their price - and even though $7 might be justified, no one will want to be the first to make such a big jump. 

"The $7 cup of coffee could be quite hard for the cafe owner to deliver… maybe it needs to go up in small increments," says Cattell.

So maybe start putting away a few extra cents - but not dollars just yet.